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No change in Latin America? – LAB Newsletter, 16 May 2022

100 days as Honduras’ first female president, Constitutional crisis in Brazil, mining and malaria in Venezuela, Colombian elections 

Upcoming event


Shafik Meghji’s new title Crossed Off the Map – Travels in Bolivia has received rave reviews. Join us at Stanfords travel bookshop in Covent Garden on Tuesday 17th to hear the author talk about travelling across Bolivia – from the highest city on Earth to the world’s most biodiverse national park. Ticket includes a glass of wine/soft drink and £5 off the purchase price of Crossed Off The Map.

News from the region

When Honduras’ first female president Xiomara Castro rose to power under a feminist agenda, women all over the country were filled with hope. But a hundred days into her government, with not a single change introduced that benefits women, pressure is mounting for Castro to fullfil her promises.

Vienna Herrera, an investigative multimedia journalist with Honduran digital media outlet Contracorriente, looks at the shortcomings of Xiomara Castro’s first 100 days in office and the lack of action on women’s rights issues – a fight close to her heart – for issue IIII of Voz, LAB’s quarterly dispatch. Sign up or sign in with Patreon to read.

Vienna Herrera Voz Xiomara Castro 100 days

Sifontes has become the epicentre of the malaria epidemic in Venezuela, which has the highest incidence of the disease in the Americas (35 per cent). Marielba Núñez reports for LAB on the links between gold mining, deforestation and malaria.

Petro and Fico are going head to head in Colombia’s presidential race, and it seems, with Duque’s approval ratings falling to around 20 per cent and a whopping 85 per cent believing the country is moving in the wrong direction, Colombians want change. LAB asked what Bogota’s over-centralized Centro de Memoria, Paz y Reconciliación is doing to change the narrative around war and peace in the South American country.

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The number of people experiencing homelessness on the streets of São Paulo grew by 31 per cent during the Covid-19 pandemic. Freya Frehse from the University of São Paulo documented the new forms of informal architecture appearing on the Paulista streets in a short film depicting the resourcefulness, creativity and skills of the city’s street dwellers.

Amid growing fears that he will stage a coup to prevent a Lula victory, Bolsonaro provokes a constitutional crisis to cloak scandals. Jan Rocha reports.

Monica Dos Santos from Bento Rodrigues and Marina Paula de Oliveira from Brumadinho were in London to attend the final hearing of a court case that has been brought against BHP in London. LAB writer Ella Barnes met with them to discuss continued crimes, lack of reparations, and the scarce recognition of victims of these two tailings dam disasters.

Dan Baron, LAB’s correspondent in Marabá, Pará, Brazil, is organizing a conference on 18 May at 12:30 – 14:00 GMT on ‘The Pedagogies of Transformance [transformation through performance] in the Brazilian Amazon’ with the Rios de Encontro (Rivers of Meeting) project. More info here.

Film and podcast recommendations

‘Blood River’ (Honduras)

Honduran rights defender Berta Cáceres stood up against powerful landowners, the world’s largest dam builder and an army of private security guards to defend the rights of her Lenca people and the environment. The nine-episode podcast series ‘Blood River’ explores Cáceres’ life and murder, as well as the investigations and judicial proceedings that have followed. Katie Jones reports for our Environmental Defenders series.

Heroínas (Peru)
Whilst Túpac Amaru II is hailed as the hero of the 1780 Andean Rebellion against the Spanish in Peru, in comparison, little is known about Tomasa Tito Condemayta (1740-1781). Peruvian-Spanish filmmaker Marina Herrera Badell strives to address this imbalance in her debut short mockumentary film ‘Heroínas’, reviewed by Suzie Beckley.

Women Resisting Violence (Guatemala, Brazil, UK)
This LAB podcast champions the innovative strategies of women addressing gender-based violence in Brazil, Guatemala and the UK. It is presented by Renata Peppl and produced by Louise Morris. Listen here.

Latin America Bureau - News and analysis from the frontlines of Latin America's struggles for social and environmental justice


We’re still urging all LAB newsletter subscribers to sign up to Patreon. Exclusive content includes a first-look at each Environmental Defenders article; interviews with Ana Paula, a human rights activist from the group Mães de Manguinhos and with Brazil’s first openly gay and proud federal deputy, Jean Wyllys; and Voz, LAB’s quarterly dispatch – the most recent issues featuring a preview of Shafik Meghji’s Crossed Off The Map: Travels in Bolivia and a feature on Xiomara Castro’s failed promises for women in Honduras.

Best wishes and thank you all for your continued support, LAB team


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